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Phillies fans: you’re not really enjoying yourselves, are you?

Aug 24, 2011, 3:30 PM EDT

Phillies fans AP

Howard Bryant of ESPN.com makes a pretty decent observation: when your team becomes a superpower, your fandom changes. The magic is really only there at the beginning of a dynasty or near-dynasty. After that you’re not satisfied with anything short of a title and something is lost.

His Exhibit A: Phillies fans:

For all the fans yearning for their teams to be in the high-payroll, trade-deadline-aggressive, all-in-every-year category, the price of being a superpower can be, of all things, the loss of fun … The Phillies and their fans have entered, for them, a new territory in which winning has been transformed from hope to expectation. It can come at a heavy price for the sports fan, but one that many fans would love to pay. Or at least think they would.

I think the dynamic is right, though I think that Bryant overstates things for most people. When the Braves were in year 12 and 13 of their division title run I’ll admit that it was way, way less special for me than things were in 1991. How could it not be? I wanted the season to get underway, then I wanted the inevitable rise to first place to occur quickly, but then I wanted the playoffs to hurry up and start.  Smelling the roses of the regular season made me a bit impatient.

But it was still fun.  At least for me it was.  Of course, I’m probably less of a rah-rah guy than a lot of others. And it goes without saying that Braves fans are less of a rah-rah bunch than those of other teams.

Phillies fans may be the most rah-rah of them all.  So tell me, you guys: still having fun? Or is there a certain stress, the sort of which Bryant describes, inherent in your baseball lives these days?

No pressure.

132 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 24, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Oh shit Ross Gload just doubled. I am astounded.

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 24, 2011 at 4:29 PM

      Lies!!! Oh wait, ok. I’m relying on Fox play by play, it’s behind….

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 24, 2011 at 4:40 PM

        Maybe he is the answer to the left handed bench bat. :)

    • halladaysbiceps - Aug 24, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      Doesn’t matter. They are going to lose this game. Pathetic game all around. Don’t even want to get into it now. I’m pissed.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:04 PM

        I thought you were having fun Phillie Phan?

    • cleverbob - Aug 24, 2011 at 6:14 PM

      He put one in the corner and stretched a triple into a double.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 24, 2011 at 6:41 PM

        In fairness, I think he was surprised that he actually got a hit.

  2. mattjg - Aug 24, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    My snide comment aside, I think Bryant has (somewhat of) a point. I’m rooting like hell that the Phillies come back and beat the Mets today, but if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world. Three years ago, a loss to the Mets (or any other team) had the potential to ruin my day. I’m confident the Phillies will win the division based on their track record and their huge lead on the Braves. I’ll admit, I’m not on the edge of my seat during each game the way I used to be. I was there when the Phillies clinched the division in 2007 and I went absolutely nuts. When they clinch a playoff birth this year? I’ll cheer, but it won’t be the same. All that being said, it’s never been more fun to be a Phillies fan.

  3. mattjg - Aug 24, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Not to be crude, but it’s the difference between losing your virginity/having sex rarely and getting laid all the time. Maybe the feeling of sex is heightened if your experiences are few and far between, but I don’t know any guy who would complain about getting laid too often.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:02 PM

      Yep. Here’s another metaphor just for shits….it’s like being a U.S. citizen, the country of which the very derivation of the term “super power” was created, and not enjoying the fact that you are a citizen of said nation. Sure I don’t say, “yay, I’m American!” every time I wake, but I’m excited about it, I pay attention to what we do, and I have very high expectations of things our country does or doesn’t do. Having high expectations and having fun are NOT mutually exclusive.

      Finally, if anyone is a fan of the Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies and you aren’t enjoying your baseball experience over the last couple seasons, not only can you go f@ck yourself, you probably should do so with a katana.

      Double finally, for these fans I that reference above, ask yourself this: W.W.R.F.D? What would Royals fans do? There’s your answer.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 24, 2011 at 6:10 PM

        Wasn’t Kitana a hot chick in Mortal Kombat?

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 24, 2011 at 6:50 PM

        http://mortalkombat.wikia.com/wiki/Kitana ooooooo yeahhh

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 24, 2011 at 7:07 PM

        Kitana would make an awesome catcher. (Sorry Chooch and reason for winning Schneider)

  4. philadelphiandy - Aug 24, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    As a Phillies fan, I agree with Bryant’s take that things change when you’re the fan of a superpower (his term, not mine) but I don’t feel that the change is for the worse. In previous seasons my mood was dictated by the outcome of that day’s Phillies game because any tough loss could cost the Phils a playoff berth. This season- with a playoff berth a foregone conclusion- I’ve been able to shrug off painful losses because, eh, they’re still going to win 100+ games. (Case in point, I couldn’t help but laugh when Lidge plunked Gomes to end the game a few days back.) Honestly, I’ve never been so relaxed and even-keeled during a season as I’ve been in 2011. In short, in previous years I’ve been swept up in the day-to-day excitement of a tight pennant race, while in 2011 I’ve kicked back and appreciated a loaded team marching toward the October. So yeah, in some regards Bryan is right- seasons like this are different for fans, but I can’t agree with his assessment that teams like this aren’t as fun to root for.

    • firedude7160 - Aug 24, 2011 at 9:21 PM

      I would have to agree. Especially in regards to the Lidge plunking the other night. While it still kinda pissed me off, I couldn’t help but laugh when it happened. I think that I am having more fun this year. I don’t find myself stressing out as much over each game. I find myself noticing things I never have before. I would say that the journey is still fun, just a different kind

  5. steve959 - Aug 24, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Wow! As a troll a123 u really suck. U sound like my retarded 12 year old nephew

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:03 PM

      Ouch to your nephew…classy play there brah.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:14 PM

      Calling your nephew something derogatory like that is uncool, man. though I do agree about one thing: a125125125 sounds like a troll.

  6. Utley's Hair - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    After any given loss or poorly played win or near loss, I may not be all that happy. That said, nope…I’m feeling pretty good about the Phightins. Damn them for not going 166-0, though!!!!! That’s a perfect season with an extra win for every ace on the staff.

  7. crankyfrankie - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Being a Phils fan for 45 years I’ve enjoyed both good and bad times. Being at a full excited ballpark beats the crap out of Connie Mack Stadium with a few hundred depressed folks watching us lose to Coco La Boy and the Montreal expos. Watching Roy, Roy, Cliff, Cole and Vance beats the stuffing out of Dick Selma and Wayne Twitchell. Watching strangers high five other strangers as we walk to the subway to get home beats depressed people booing at the Vet. Maybe inf we sustain this run it will be less fun in a few years but it is way too early to be at that stage for us yet.

  8. sgtr0c - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    1980 I was 13, heard almost whole season on the radio. 1993, second shift job, heard most. This run has all been on wide screen tv’s. A true baseball fan knows that the really good playoff drama was set up through out the regular season and you would be cheating yourself without it. At this point, I still hope nothing goes wrong and they make the play-offs.

  9. joebuckiscreepy - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    If you love your team and you think highly of their skills, chemistry, etc…then of course there will be the expectation of winning. Any parent (not the best metaphor, but you get it) who knows their child is intelligent and capable will be disappointed in them if they come home with a D+, but they will still love them and tell them to get ‘em next time.

    With that being said, I find it hilarious that people feel the need to bait Philly fans like this. Go to CBP for a home game and see for yourself if people are having fun.

  10. macjacmccoy - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    I agree with his point but not with his example. The Phillies just started being good. They won their 1st division in a while in 2007 but they werent a dominant team. The same thing goes for 2008 they werent a super power then, that year was full of excitement and nervousness if they would even make the playoffs. And when they did make the playoffs it wasnt like we were expecting them to dominate, remember the year before they got swept by the Rockies in the opening round.Then 2009 came around and they just won a title, that was a great year full of fun an excitement. Philly final had the championship they waited 20+ years for. How could that entire post championship year not be fun? But that 2009 team wasnt a super power then either, before the deadline their only good pitcher was Hamels who was having a bad season. Once the post season started and the prospects of repeating started looking like a possibly bc the addition of Lee, the city was pure electricity? When they made the WS and lost their was no sense of failure, it was wonderful that a team that was so bad for so long was able to win back to back pennants. 2010 was more the same but they still werent a super power yet that had Halladay and Hamels to start but they lost Lee and the offense was sputtering. We loved every second of Halladay on the mound and eventually the 3 aces. The loss in the playoffs was dissapointing but no more so then the 1 in 2007.

    Now this year comes around and LEE is back! The Phillies have 4 legitimate aces and are the best team in baseball. Maybe now a super power is born. That might be mundane to fans of teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and the Braves of the 90’s bc they always had good teams but to Philly this is the best it has ever been and extremely fun. Maybe if this keeps up it might become less fun in 5 years but right now I couldnt enjoy baseball more.

    Bryant has to have forgotten that the Phillies have lost more games then any sports franchise in the world. Not in Baseball, not in America, in the world. There is no way 3 years of good baseball and 2 years of dominance can become boring to a fan base that has had to deal with as much losing as the Phillies fan base has had to endure. So even though the premise makes sense and it seems he put some thought into it, he obviously didnt take the same care or time when choosing the team to base his premise off of.

  11. aclassyguyfromaclassytown - Aug 24, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    Late to the party as usual. first off, we Philly Phaithful are LOVING the Phillies right now and are very much happy campers. I’m avoiding saying that we are ‘”enjoying ourselves” because I think this is all a ploy for Craig to turn this all around as one big masterbation joke. I couldn’t agree more with the concensus of PFT being a bunch of idiots showing up to talk tough cause no one else will listen. Craig and Aaron and Drew and DJ are all way ahead of everyone over there in the quality of writing they put out. I find it funny that so many people get so upset with Craig’s baiting. I just can’t wait to rub it in his face when the fightins win it all this year. Their record has really done all of the talking I need. Keep praising your boy Kimbrel there Calcaterra. It’s only a matter of time before he’s in pinstripes and we’re all pissed about it. Frankly, I appreciate guys like Craig and El Bravo, because without them we’d have no one to gloat over when we’re parading down broadstreet in a couple months. You are the negative to our positive, and so I thank you. I still laugh at asking Trasmus3 what his favorite kind of cheese is by the way. It was almost as wonderful as reading Mr Heyward say “Go Phillies!” a few months back.

  12. jeffro33 - Aug 24, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Craig, for what was 22 years of futility for me prior to 2007 (baseball brain formed at age 8, in 1985) aside from 1.5 years where a group of macho ballplayers found some now illegal medicine, I can say without a doubt that I love this era with the Phillies.

    While I have to remind others in my fanbase of how spoiled we are becoming, I remind myself that we are witnessing the finest stretch in the Phillies’ 130 years of being a franchise.

    PS- when I saw the headline, I was certain that this was a CC posting. One other certainty was that every Braves fan had to be bored of the regular season at the same point you shared due to their postseason shortcomings.

  13. schmedley69 - Aug 24, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    Being a perennial winner is definitely a weird feeling. During the 14-year playoff drought, it seemed that we would never make it back again. We couldn’t even eek out a wild-card birth, always falling a game or two short. It was an incredible feeling when they won the division on the last day of the 2007 season, but we were swept out by the Rockies before we even had time to soak it all in. We trailed the Mets for most of the season in 2008, and my thinking was that 2007 was a fluke and that it would be another decade before we made it back again. Somehow we came back to take the division again and won it all. 2009 was a struggle until we got Pedro and Cliff for the stretch run. I think we trailed the Braves by as much as 8 games last year, and didn’t really turn it on until the Oswalt trade.

    I have to admit, this season has seemed kind of boring. The games sometimes seem like pre-season football games. Just a tune-up for the bigger games to come. It beats the hell out of the losing years, when they were pretty much out of it by June and there was nothing to look forward too. Someday we will suck again and look back at this time as the glory days. This is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of team. This is probably the best era in Phillies history, and it’s hard to imagine ever topping this run in the future. We need to enjoy it while it lasts.

  14. mojosmagic - Aug 24, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    I enjoy kicking everybody’s @SS on a regular basis. What’s not fun is when your the other team and you look at who is pitching. OK, we face Doc, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt. And their 5th starter Worley is 9-1 with a 2.70 ERA. That must be a lot of fun for opposing fans to think about. In the immortal words of Doc ” it’ going to be even funer this year”.

  15. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 24, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    2008 was a special season because the World Series was so unexpected. Sure, they finally broke through and made the playoffs in 2007. The best part, though, was that the Mutts EPIC collapse, losing a 7 game lead with 17 to play. But the Rockies kicked their asses so bad, it was almost like the Phillies didn’t even make the playoffs.

    In 2008, it was another nail-biter of a season, where, with 16 games left, the Phillies were not even going to make the playoffs, being 3.5 games back for the division and the Brewers were having a good year. Next thing you know, the Mutts went 7-10 to end the year while the Phillies went 13-3, stole the division, beat up on CC, then Matt Stairs hit a bomb, Pat Burrell hit a big double, Pedro Feliz hit a HUGE single, and we were all watching a parade.

    In 2009, the Phillies seemed to get better, especially when they picked up Lee at the deadline. But the bullpen let them down…game 4 of the World Series was a KILLER. In the end, the Yankers were just the better team.

    In 2010, however, it was such a HUGE letdown that I can’t imagine being too overconfident right now. Yeah, I will admit that nothing this team does can shock me because the staff, as I have said all year long, is historically great. Not just great…historically great. And, most importantly, they are pitching that way. There is no letdown EVER with these guys.

    The biggest problem with Bryant’s article is this…he makes it sound like you can’t expect to win and still have fun. I expect the Phillies to win during the regular season. And I will probably expect them to win when the playoffs start. But I’ll also have fun rooting for them as I have since I was 5. Just because I get mad when they lose doesn’t mean the ride wasn’t fun. And just because I won’t watch the World Series if they aren’t in it doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun enjoying the ride.

  16. dasher521 - Aug 25, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    I gave up my season ticket plan after the ’93 season because I could forsee the strike in ’94. I stopped going to all major league games after that, even though I loved the game of baseball. The next major league game that I paid to see in Philadelphia was in 2004, out of curiosity to see the new ballpark. My love of the game overcame my distaste for the greed and the business of baseball and I got a season ticket plan again. I think in any city there are true fans and there are casual fans. The true baseball fans don’t lose the excitement and enjoyment of the game. If you go down to see the Phillies at the ballpark, the fans are experiencing the fun and you can feel it. The Phillies fans are still adjusting to fact that the ownership has finally committed to winning. We’re not used to that. If you think there wasn’t a lot of fun going on when the Phillies announced they signed Cliff Lee, you were probably out of town. If you think there wasn’t a lot of fun going on when they traded for Hunter Pence, you were probably on vacation. There is still plenty of fun around the ballpark here. (Having said all of that, I do understand Bryant’s point. It can happen down the road. But that day isn’t here in Philadelphia.)

    • dasher521 - Aug 25, 2011 at 8:54 AM

      To answer the question, I’m a Phillies fan and I’m still having fun!

  17. leftywildcat - Aug 25, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Just getting to the top of the heap now, or having been there for some time, doesn’t make any difference to me at all.

    Either way, it’s a great feeling.

    Add in cheese steaks, pork roll sandwiches, soft pretzels, Yuengling and Taskykakes, and what’s not to like about the Phillies?

    It’s a stupid article.

    • firedude7160 - Aug 26, 2011 at 10:39 PM

      Mhhhh Butterscotch krimpets and a Yuengling

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